art work by John Ceprano
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Making an Apology

As you know, last week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog was entitled “Apologizing” and specifically what constitutes an effective apology. This week’s blog asks more and different questions about making apologies. Doing so can be challenging for some of us – depending on the circumstance – as we do not always know if they will be received well and if the other person is ready and willing to listen. Or, we do not know if we are ready, sincerely wanting to apologize, or just wanting to say we are sorry because we think one is expected or we should.

Some of the other many considerations besides the other person’s readiness and our own include timing, degree of offense taken, our individual contributions to the discord, and our own lingering feelings about what happened. These and other variables tend to complicate apologies and the willingness to forgive.

It helps to give some time and energy to think out what we want to say before proceeding with apologies, and to be prepared for the possibilities that may arise in response. The following questions help explore an apology you are wondering about giving:

  • Thinking about a situation about which you wonder whether to make an apology, for what do you want to apologize?
  • What part of the apology are you feeling sincere about giving?
  • Which part of the apology does not feel sincere? Why does that not feel sincere?
  • What do you think the other person wants you to acknowledge and apologize for that you do not want to? Why don’t you, if this applies?
  • What will you not say in your apology because it may lead to a negative reaction?
  • What sentiments and words will you use that you feel are appropriate and likely to be well received?
  • What tone of voice do you plan to use? Body language?
  • How do you intend to respond if you do not get the response you hope for?
  • If you were on the receiving end of your intended apology, what would be said or done that would motivate you to accept it?
  • What do you know for sure about the apology you plan to make that you did not know or understand before your reflections here?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

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